Sunlight bathes the valley in chilled radiance. Freshly fallen powder reflects in jewel-encrusted luster under the pristine turquoise blue sky. There is the familiar still-quiet of a deep-winter mourning. Not even the slightest breeze stirs along the mountainsides.
The ambient air temperature is three quaint American degrees below zero on the fahrenheit scale. Meteorological prophecy foretells it might get to two above for a high, the teens and twenties, a day or two off. Freezing, or a above, just a little longer. Another kiss from the Arctic regions.
It doesn't feel as cold as the last time polar air pushed through. The sunlight acts a something of a peculiar placebo. Perhaps that stillness, the decided lack of even the slightest breeze to cause the slightest windchill, helps as well. Somehow, amongst the frozen and silence, it's rather pleasant.
As I watch the cold sunlight expand across the valley I am filled with a sense of comfort and excitement. By observed memory, in roughly fifteen days, the tilt of world along its axis will be such that the sun will peek once more above the southern ridge line of Mount Pendelton, and there will be direct sunlight upon the House of Owls and Bats again. The six weeks of long dark will have ended. The mere thought of it can get me to at the very least smirk.
It's another placebo and I know it. Once direct sunlight falls upon the house again, the winter ceases to feel so dark or so cold. Suddenly, it feels as though the season starts to enter its swan-song days. The first signs of thaw begin to appear, though sometimes, it's just hopeful hallucination. When those first rays of direct sunlight bathe the House of Owls and Bats I am inclined to play happy musics at loud volumes, seeing an omen by virtue of orbit; when the sun comes back, winter is almost over. It's not really that long at all before it's spring once again.